In the historical Indian language of Sanskrit “ut” means intense, “tan” means to stretch and extend, and “asana” is a yoga pose or posture.

Uttanasana is a widely practiced classic standing forward-bend pose that works every part of your body, but particularly your spine. It also wakes up the hamstrings and soothes the mind. Practitioners say this pose rejuvenates the nervous system, eases depression and boosts blood circulation. No wonder it’s so popular!
The standing spinal twist is good exercise for toning legs and arms, increasing flexibility and releasing upper body tension.

Regular practice of these two poses in your postnatal yoga program will build your strength and tone while also making you feel calm and positive.

These programs have been created by: Katie Brown yoga teacher and infant massage specialist

Uttanasana with side variation, standing spinal twist & uttanasana poses step by step

Uttanasana with side variation

  • Standing on your yoga mat oar rug, take your legs wide apart, your feet parallel to one another. Soften your knees and draw you naval towards your backbone
  • Place your hands on your hips, drawing your breastbone up, hinging your spine as you bend forward from the hips and keeping your head and neck in line with your spine, your chin slightly tucked in
  • Move the weight away from your heels towards the balls of your feet, giving you a gentle stretch in the hamstrings
  • Then exhale as you take your upper body over to the left
  • Inhale as you move back to the centre
  • Exhale over to the right side, keeping your hands on hips, your back flat, and your weight on the balls of your feet to give a gentle stretch to your hamstrings
  • When you’re ready to come out, bend your knees and slowly roll up, your head last
  • To finish, stand in Tadasana – mountain pose – and breathe

Standing spinal twist

For this pose you need a yoga block or a thick phonebook if you can’t touch the ground with your hands. If you have no back issues, you can straighten your legs while doing this exercise.

  • Standing on your mat or rug, step your feet out wide, with your feet parallel to one another
  • Lengthen your spine as you hinge forward from the hips and place your hands palm down on the yoga block or phonebook, or the floor if you can reach it
  • Take your left hand up towards the ceiling and turn to look up at it, while also pushing up from your right hand
  • If looking up is too strong, look down at your right hand instead
  • Keep pushing up from your right hand and stretching out your left
  • Take 3 breaths in this position. Then gently place your left hand down
  • With your left hand firmly on the block or the ground, take your right hand up towards the ceiling. Turn to look at your hand and take 3 breaths
  • Repeat this exercise in both directions


  • Standing on your mat or rug, place your feet about hip-distance apart and relax your knees
  • Bend over slowly from the hips, cross your arms and allow your neck to feel completely released. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Give your head a gentle nod and shake to help it let go
  • Hang here and relax
  • To come out, bend your knees and slowly roll upright, head last
  • Draw your arms up above your head and then bring your palms together at your heart centre
    • Keep your eyes open if you feel at all dizzy
  • Take a long slow deep breath

Now move onto postnatal yoga lower body

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